Video: Ryanair’s ‘We are Changing’ Irish TV ad
The tie-up means customers in 8 countries including the UK will be able to view live ticket prices from Ryanair and rival airlines on an interactive map and browse and filter flights by price, date and duration. They will then be redirected to the Ryanair.com site to make a booking.
Ryanair has previously been a vocal opponent of search engines and agencies, preferring to make customers search for flights and book them on its own website. It has sued a number of such sites to have its flight information removed and used the Recaptcha security code to stop scrapers.
However, it has loosened these restrictions, removing the Recaptcha feature from its website. The deal with Google is its most high profile with a search engine to date and suggests the firm is no longer a fierce opponent of price comparison sites.
The move is the latest in a series of changes by Ryanair aimed at improving perception of its brand and making it easier for people to book flights. Having previously said it did not need a marketing director, it recently appointed its first in Kenny Jacobs as it looks to improve customer perceptions.
It has also made a u-turn by embarking on a charm offensive aimed at addressing its reputation for poor customer service. It has made improvements including cutting baggage fees, allowing a second item of hand baggage and introducing allocated seating.
It is also investing in digital, launching a revamped Ryanair.com homepage and booking process and “My Ryanair” customer registration system and is planning a full website overhaul and the launch of mobile boarding passes and a mobile app in the coming months.
However, the website has been hit by a technical glitch today (22 January), with Ryanair issuing a statement blaming a “system problem” for delays in sending out emails of travel itineraries.